Update: BC Wildfire monitoring flare ups above K-Mountain in Keremeos

Fire has reached a bowl area in high elevation on K-Mountain, risk of fire coming downslope is low

Update: 9:45 p.m.

Flare ups have been reported on the east side of K-Mountai, but wildfire incident commander Noelle Kekula is advising residents in the area that the fire looks worse at night than it is.

The Keremeos Fire Department and wildfire crews are monitoring the fire thoughout the night.

Update 3:30 p.m.

Helicopters are currently bucketing the area a top K-Mountain as the Snowy Fire has breached its perimeter and is currently burning in an alpine area.

(Joe Lebeau/Hashmark Photography)

“Crews continue to work to secure the north flank and tie it into rocky slopes in order to keep the fire from wrapping around towards Keremeos. The fire has crossed over the perimeter over the upper slope west of the Barrington drainage. This is visible from Keremeos. Helicopters are bucketing this activity, and ground crews are on site,” a release from BC Wildfire states.

Residents might be able to see the fire through the thick smoke in the area, but Claire Allen, information officer for BC Wildfire, wanted to assure concerned people that the fire, “(is) still high up in the slope area.”

Original:

The Snowy Mountain fire is burning in an alpine area high above the iconic ‘K’ in K-Mountain.

(Joe Lebeau/Hashmark Photography)

Claire Allen, fire information officer for BC Wildfire, said there would be a bit more activity at the mountain compared to previous days.

“Some winds have pushed the fire on the top into the alpine area into a bit of a bowl. It’s still high up in the slope area,” she said.

The fire could be seen from the road late Wednesday night.

She noted heavy smoke in the area caused by an inversion yesterday and increased smoke from a planned burnoff has made visibility limited.

Allen has said in a previous interview the risk to Keremeos residents is low considering the small fuel load on the slopes of K-Mountain and to reach the village the fire would need to cross irrigated farm fields, and the Similkameen River. Although crews including local Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department firefighters are constantly patrolling for spot fires.

Related: Update: Wind cancels burn-off plans for Snowy Mountain fire

Currently, the Snowy Mountain Fire is estimated at 12,219 hectares in size and is listed at 40 per cent contained.

Resources have increased today with 106 firefighters and seven pieces of heavy equipment dedicated to the fire burning south of Keremeos.

There are 11 helicopters in the area working both the Snowy Mountain and Placer Mountain fire, also burning in high elevation about 36 kilometres southwest of Keremeos.

On the to do list today for crews is continuing to work the south flank of the fire where the burn-off occurred Wednesday.

“The burn-off was conducted for the purpose of removing fuels from the slopes adjacent to properties in order to halt the forward progression of the fire to the south,” a release from BC Wildfire stated.

Related: Keremeos firefighters working night patrols as Snowy Mountain fire

Other crews are working to secure the north flank and tie into rock slopes in order to keep the fire from wrapping around towards Keremeos. And work continues on the east flank including mop-up and patrols along Chopaka Road. The fire remains to the west of Chopaka Road.

At the time of this posting the fire was still estimated at three-kilometres north of the U.S. border.

BC Wildfire Service is working collaboratively with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources given the fire’s proximity to the border.

Related: Snakes rattling up trouble for wildfire crews near Keremeos

More to come.

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@TaraBowieBC
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